Tag Archives: SWOT

Top 5 – SWOT Success – Part 2

Last week we brought you Part 1 of a two part series on SWOT Analysis.  We delved into detail on the four areas of the SWOT, Strengths and Weaknesses as well as the Opportunities and Threats.

In summary the essence of the SWOT analysis is to discover  what your business does well, how you can help improve it, whether you are making the most of the opportunities you uncover and understanding what are the changes and potential threats to your market such as technology advances, mergers or unstable suppliers.

This week in Part 2 of the series we outline five key factors that will help ensure success as you complete a SWOT for your business.

1.Clear Goals
A compulsory first step when performing a SWOT is to define the end goal or an overall goal that needs to be achieved in order for the SWOT process to be deemed a success.  The goal must be clear and agreed upon by all those partaking in the SWOT analysis process.  By not completing this step the business risks wasting resources and not completing the process.

An example of an overall goal might be: ‘Expand 10% of the meat processing arm of our business into the Asian market by year end 2013.” Remember to be realistic.

 2. Seek input from others
Collect as much information as you can. You can gather information using interviews, reports, focus groups and group brainstorming sessions.  Your goal at this stage is to get as many details about each of the four sectors of the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).  The quality of the information you collect is extremely important for determining the success of the SWOT process.  You can develop the most comprehensive plan ever seen, but if it is based on faulty or incomplete information it will fail.  Keep in mind the SWOT can also help highlight what you don’t know.

3. Identify potential Blind Spots
In “Six Ways to Prevent Corporate Tunnel Vision,” Adrian Ott lists six questions you can ask to uncover hidden risks and opportunities. (Fast Company, April 5, 2010)
– Can a competitor with a new business model explode the economics of your industry?
– Do you evaluate the same competitors now as you did three years ago?
– Can your category be simplified?
– How well do you evaluate the broader customer context independent of your products?
– Do you regularly seek the next wave of technology or methods to serve customers, even when they will make your current products obsolete? (think Blockbuster or Borders)
– Do you have the same channel partner portfolio mix as three years ago? (think Google or Paypal).

4. Perform the SWOT Analysis process many times
A SWOT Analysis should perform multiple times.  Your business environment will be constantly changing so use the SWOT as an ongoing business tool that is reviewed regularly.

5. Relying on SWOT as a holistic diagnostic strategy
Remember, use the SWOT as an overall strategy to analyse your business, not in isolation. See it as a guide not a complete decision making tool.  Be mindful not to base all major decisions on this analysis and nothing else.

Now it’s your turn!! We hope you have found this two part series on the SWOT Analysis Process useful and informative, please let us know what you think………..

Almost 90% of survey respondents use SWOT’s to navigate the unknown.  Don’t be left in the dark! Happening People have helped many organisations discover their strategic planning prowess!  Call Happening People on 1800 68 67 69 or go to www.happeningpeople.com

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“What is a SWOT?” – Part 1

“No one knows what tomorrow will bring” and this cannot be truer in business today.  Whilst you can’t see around corners or predict the future a popular business tool known as a SWOT analysis can help you better navigate the unknown.
A SWOT Analysis is a business tool for analysing an organisation’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.  These headings are normally presented as a grid and provide a framework for reviewing strategy, position and direction of an organisation moving forward.

The purpose is to navigate the future to:

  • Build on your strengths
  • Eliminate your weaknesses
  • Exploit your opportunities
  • And mitigate your threats

The SWOT Analysis can be used for almost any decision making against organisational goals and the simple quadrant encourages proactive thinking and objectivity rather than relying on habitual or instinctive reactions.

In one of our recent social media polls we found a staggering 89% of organisations conducted Swot Analyses when engaging in strategy based decisions, highlighting the broad use and acceptance of this popular model.

We would like to help you delve further into the world of SWOT’s with a more detailed look at each of the elements that make up the SWOT in our TOP 5 “What is a SWOT?”  This is a two part series and next week we give you our Top 5 on SWOT Success, a look at the key factors of how you can apply the SWOT framework effectively to your business.

1. Strengths
These are defined as positive tangible and intangible attributes, internal to your business that is within your control.

Some questions to ask when examining your businesses strengths are:
– How is your business different from others?
– What are the tangible and intangible attributes that make your business steadfast?
– What are some key achievements/ capabilities your business has had in recent times?
– How is your business perceived in its industry / market?
– What resources do you have available?

2. Weaknesses
Weaknesses are factors within your control that detract from your ability to attain your goals and need to be improved to help your performance.  These can be difficult to face as they force you to face some aspects of your business you may have been avoiding.

Some questions to ask when examining your businesses weaknesses include:
– What are the things that hold your business back in achieving your goals?
– What are the challenges your business faces that it struggles to overcome?
– What is unhealthy about your business?

3. Opportunities
Can be defined as the reasons for your business existing and the reasons for its development.

Some questions to ask when examining your businesses opportunities:
– What are some of the emerging trends in your market?
– What relationships can you leverage?
– What investments can you leverage?

4. Threats
Threats come from outside factors to your business.  Identifying the threats for your business help you take steps to mitigate risk and remain watchful of their possible encroachment on your business.

Some questions to ask when examining your businesses threats include;
– What are the market trends and are they moving with or away from your business?
– Are their economic factors that affect supply of your product or service?
– What are your competitors doing
– Is your reputation under threat in any way?

5. Summary
The SWOT is a very powerful tool in identifying the internal and external factors that affect your business.  The final element of the SWOT is putting a strategy in place which is helpful in determining short and long term goals for your business. This will be discussed in more detail next week in part 2 of our series on SWOT Analyses.

Now it’s your turn!! What are some of the threats your business is currently facing?

Almost 90% of survey respondents use SWOT’s to navigate the unknown.  Don’t be left in the dark! Happening People have helped many organisations discover their strategic planning prowess!  Call Happening People on 1800 68 67 69 or go to www.happeningpeople.com

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